Turnkey communications operational in Bosnia

WASHINGTON - Engineers at Sprint, the Washington-based long distance telephone service provider, have installed a turnkey communications system for the peacekeeping mission in Bosnia using entirely commercial off-the-shelf equipment.

By John Rhea

WASHINGTON - Engineers at Sprint, the Washington-based long distance telephone service provider, have installed a turnkey communications system for the peacekeeping mission in Bosnia using entirely commercial off-the-shelf equipment.

Under an initial $3.6 million Defense Information Systems Agency contract, Sprint experts began a year ago installing a terrestrial communications system in Hungary to provide voice and data connections and to link into a global Internet service.

Now, with the recent completion of satellite links in Bosnia and Croatia, the entire system is up and running, replacing a tactical communications network originally installed by the Army`s 5th Signal Command and freeing military personnel for other duties.

Sprint officials say the initial installation in Hungary relieved the Army`s 7th Signal Brigade of more than a battalion`s worth of communications personnel and equipment, saving "hundreds of thousands of dollars a month."

The contract is to be completed next June at a cost of $36 million - including local and wide area network subsystems, microwave transmission equipment, switching equipment, wireless/cellular voice and data systems, and backup generators.

The equipment is leased to the government in a significant departure from past deployments of tactical communications systems - in effect "outsourcing" that function to a commercial provider. The Army`s own tactical communications equipment can then be redeployed to meet urgent contingencies.

Satellite terminals for Operation Joint Guard peacekeeping mission in Bosnia are loaded into a chartered Ukrainian Antonov An-124 freighter, the world`s largest commercial cargo aircraft, for a direct flight from Dulles International Airport in Washington to Budapest, Hungary.

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